Weekend Escape: A screaming good time
I did not know that it was possible to scream myself into silence until I went on The Screamer, one of five zip lines offered at H'Evans Scent Adventure Park in Free Hill, St Ann. The three-seater zip line took me on a 180-degree swing into fear, disbelief and what felt like heart stoppage for more than five minutes.
"Stooooooppppp," I yelled at the park's coordinator, Sophia Sutherland, but she just sat and smiled, all the while telling me I'd be okay - she was right. I came off the zip line shaking and wobbling like a toddler just learning how to walk. It was by far the craziest, yet most exhilarating experience I have had in a long time. It gave me a new lease on life - literally.
H'Evans Scent Adventure Park is on 26 acres of zip lines, two paintball pitches, and a myriad of fruit trees, such as coconut, passion, avocado, apple, mango and guinep trees. The employees are easily identifiable as they sport their nicknames on their shirts. 'Blip', 'Nani', 'Gingy', and 'Punkus' are some of the personalities you will see who will make your experience a safe and fun one. You will be asked to sign a participant agreement form. You will then be given a briefing, which I found useful as I had never gone zip-lining before.
The first half of the property hosts three zip lines: Leap of Faith, Runner and The Screamer. I journeyed up 40 feet to Leap of Faith, which takes you across a valley at 500 feet. I was really hesitant, but the staff was encouraging, and before you knew it, I was gliding through the air among the trees. I was caught on the other side by Gingy and Nani, and then it was on to Runner, which was about a minute away.
As the name suggests, participants run to the edge of the hill and jump off to return over the valley. It was easier said than done to plunge myself over a cliff, but the instructors were patient until I mustered up the courage to do it.
The second property hosts two zip lines: Awesome, which requires you to ascend 50 feet in the air to zip line 1,200 feet across another valley, and Speedy, which takes you back from a 10-foot platform. Needless to say, I was not about that life.
The property also includes two paintball pitches, Capture the Flag and Last Man Standing, which can host up to 30 people.
The park is equipped with food and beverage and is ideal for a group of friends, family, church members or students.
Owners Derrick Evans (Mr Motivator) and Sandra Evans were the first to introduce zip-lining and paintball to Jamaica after they established the park in 2003, but now, they are ready to give it all away. Through their Golden Ticket raffle promotion, you can purchase a ticket valued at US$30 to earn the chance of winning the entire property, which is valued at US$2.4 million.
"I can understand them wanting to move on now; their daughter is ill in the UK, and they are getting up in age and just want to enjoy what they have and not have this holding them to one place," Sutherland told the WEEKEND STAR. "My thing is, I hope someone gets it who will keep the staff."
Comfortable and extra clothing, sturdy shoes
Pleasant staff, serene environment
Limited options for couples
H'Evans Scent sits in the heart of the Free Hill community in St Ann. Once you arrive at Old Fort Bay, turn left and continue beyond Hotel RIU. After passing the roundabout, turn left on to Bamboo Road, where you will drive for about 15 minutes before arriving at a colourful property with the sign 'H'Evans Scent'.